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Location India, Himachal Pradesh
Central coordinates 78o 3.58' East  31o 42.73' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 26,900 ha
Altitude 909 - 5,605m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description This Sanctuary has a wide variation in altitudes, and supports a large diversity of habitats and wildlife. It lies in the catchment area of the Sutlej river and is irrigated by many small streams. The northern portion is covered with glaciers. The Great Himalayan National Park and the Pin Valley National Park are located on its western and northern boundaries respectively. Thus, it forms a large protected area complex, extremely important for alpine, subalpine and broadleaf forest birds. The nearest town is Rampur- Bushahr, about 40 km away. Despite its large size and remoteness from human habitation, this Sanctuary is facing many biotic pressures, such as hydroelectric power generation schemes. Based on the classification of Champion and Seth (1968), there are five forest types in this IBA: Alpine Pastures, Dry Temperate Coniferous Forests, Dry Broadleaf and Coniferous Forests, Kharsu Oak Forest, and Lower Western Himalayan Temperate Forest. The Forest Department has undertaken many plantation schemes for commercial timber and for the fuelwood requirement of the local people. Besides indigenous species, they have also planted exotics such as Poplar Salix and Robinia Robinia pseudacacia.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: No work has been done on the avifauna of this important protected area of the Western Himalayas. Singh et al. (1990) have provided a preliminary list of 27 bird species recorded in the Sanctuary. It is an important habitat for the globally threatened Western Tragopan Tragopan melanocephalus and Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii. Besides these two pheasants, which are restricted to the Western Himalayas, three more Restricted Range species have been identified. However, population density and abundance of any species are not known. Based on the preliminary listing, nine species of Biome-7 and four from Biome-8 have been identified. This list should be considered as only indicative, till more studies are conducted in this IBA. At present, we consider the site as Data Deficient.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: This vast sprawling Sanctuary is home to almost all the mammal species of the alpine, sub-alpine and temperate forests of the Western Himalayas. Snow leopard Uncia uncia haunts the cold desert and alpine tracts in search of Blue Sheep Pseudois nayaur, Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster, Himalayan Tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus and Himalayan Ibex Capra sibirica. At lower elevations, it is replaced by the common Leopard Panthera pardus which hunts Barking deer Muntiacus muntjak, Goral Nemorhaedus goral and Serow Nemorhaedus sumatrensis. The Brown Bear Ursus arctos and Asiatic Black Bear U. thibetanus are found in the altitudinal range of 1,600 to 4,000 m. There are also many smaller mammals recorded.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Western Tragopan Tragopan melanocephalus resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
White-cheeked Tit Aegithalos leucogenys 2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
White-throated Tit Aegithalos niveogularis 2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
Orange Bullfinch Pyrrhula aurantiaca 2004  present  A2  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Rupi Bhaba Sanctuary 26,900 is identical to site 26,900  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -
Grassland   -
Wetlands (inland)   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation
urban/industrial/transport -
Notes: Urban transport
water management -
Notes: Water management

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Sanjeeva Pandey.


Champion, H. G. and Seth, S. K. (1968) A revised survey of forest types of India, Govt. of India Press, Delhi.

Singh, S., Kothari, A. and Pande, P. (Eds) (1990) Directory of national parks and sanctuaries in Himachal Pradesh: management status and profiles. Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi. Pp 164.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Rupi Bhaba Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 19/04/2015

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